The YMCA of the Virginia Peninsulas opened on Friday.
Victory YMCA Executive Director Michael Bennett says things are going well.
“It’s been really nice. We’ve had so many compliments from our members wanting to come back and be a part of the family, staff who wanted to come back and see members. It’s been really nice to see the smiles behind the mask and seeing it in their eyes,” Bennett said.
Bennett, who is also the regional director, says they emailed members prior to the opening to let them know about safety procedures.
When they arrive, members have their temperatures checked at the door. They have to wear masks when walking around the building but can take them off when exercising.
After using a machine or equipment, it’s wiped down. The facility is also closed from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. for more cleaning.
Bennett says, overall, they’ve had positive feedback but some still have doubts.
“Some are concerned when they leave their homes. They want to make sure everyone is responsible and caring of others by wearing their masks and staying their distance,” he said. “That’s why you see the markings on the floor and our staff are trained to make sure people provide safe distance. We follow core values and our members are making sure of that.”
Member Bob Bailey agreed that besides the gym, others were also making safety a priority.
“Overall, I saw the members respect each other and they kept distancing. When they saw people, they would move to the side,” he said.
And like Bennett, he was excited to be able see others at the center.
“This is a big social gathering spot for the community. Seeing the teammates, seeing the members is just part of the daily routine and I think it’s good for the community to have it back up and running again,” he said.
Besides the temperature checks, equipment cleaning and masking, YMCA staff cleans the pool area after each use.
Members have to pre-register for 30-minute slots and are assigned a lane and area to place their belongings.
Group fitness classes are also held outdoors.
Bennett says they’re doing all they can to make everyone feel welcomed.
“We want them to know we’re still home. We’re still this friendly atmosphere that we have with our staff and we’re very welcoming. We want them to be comfortable coming here and knowing they are safe,” he said.
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